It is always easy to ignore good advice. After all, there is so much of it out there and so little time to listen to it. Putting in place a good behavior modification plan is more than just listening to good advice. It is a method of keeping yourself in check even when you feel powerless. A good behavior modification plan can help you increase your self-control and actually accomplish your goals. Rather than spending your time concentrating on your harmful behaviors you can spend your time working on things that can actually allow you to achieve your goals. Modifying behavior can also help you to avoid wasting time and money on mental and physical behaviors that are harmful.
Behavior modification plans can also change the way that you think. When you feel overwhelmed by the things that are going on in your life you might find yourself turning towards useless or harmful behaviors. If you are able to follow a behavior plan, though, you can eliminate that harmful behavior from your thinking. Simply taking the time to make sure that you are able to act in a useful manner and replace negative behaviors will change the very way that your mind works. This should also help you to function more readily in your day-to-day life.
What Is Behavior Modification?
In it’s simplest form Behavior modification is the process of altering ones behavior through rigorous adaptation. Unlike other habit changing plans that claim to help individuals to change their own behavior, behavior modification actually has a background in real world science.
Pioneered by such luminaries as B.F. Skinner, the process uses basic principles of behavioral psychology. This allows a subject to change his or her own behavior through the use of operant conditioning. This process does nothing less than change the way that an individual thinks and responds to certain stimuli.
To see the effectiveness of behavior modification, one needs only to look at the treatments prescribed for children with conditions such as autism. The science of applied behavior analysis is often used to help these children to eliminate problem behaviors. It will also allow them to condition themselves to standard environments.
It takes hard work and dedication on the part of therapists to help these children. And adults with neurotypical brains can use most of the techniques themselves.
How Is Behavior Modification Done?
To accomplish your behavior modification goals there is a simple action plan you can follow:
Step 1 – Identify Triggers
The first step is identifying what causes you to act upon the negative habit. For example, smokers might find that they smoke at a certain time (i.e. time trigger). Or they may realize the smoking occurs in a certain place (i.e. location trigger). They may even determine that it happens with certain people (i.e. people and/or environment triggers). When you figure out the triggers, you can begin to take the next step.
Step 2 – Identify Your Rewards / Payoffs
After you figure out what triggers your actions, you have to figure out why you do it. After all, there has to be some form of payoff or you would not be engaged in the habit. This might include feeling good, getting to socialize or dozens of other forms of reward. If you cannot figure this out, you may not be being honest with yourself.
Step 3 – The Power Of WHY
Next, you have to figure out why you want to drop the habit. This might be the easiest step for some. While others may find it to be a real big effort. When you consider this you should look at two things. First, take a look at what you will gain by changing the habit. Lastly, consider what you might lose by continuing the habit.
For example, some habits might cost you family time and others might cost you your health. You should also consider the positive things you would gain if you change habits. This can be anything from more money in the bank to lower health bills. Make an effort to list all of the great reasons to make a change.
Step 4 – Nature Abhors A Vacuum
The next step for some can be the tricky part. In this step you will need to figure out a new habit to replace the old habit. A positive change is necessary here, and you might stumble. The key exercise is to make sure the new habit is actually something that you like. If you cannot follow through, after all, you cannot succeed.
Step 5 – Awareness Can Be Curative
Finally, you will need to post your plan where you can see it. Positive or negative feedback is a necessity when it comes to change. Using this with your ability to measure your progress will allow you to make the necessary changes.
If you cannot measure if you are moving further or closer to your goal then you can’t consistently implement any lasting change. As you spend time going through your process you may have stumbling points. If you are willing to use this feedback to make positive changes to your actions then you stand a better chance of success.
Getting To Results
If you follow this simple actionable plan you will succeed in changing your behavior. You will be able to eliminate bad habits and replace them with new habits. Of course, this only applies if you follow the plan. Keep in mind, that this plan works best when it is applied to habits you want to change. It was not intended for those suffering addictions. If you are looking to change something like eliminating binge eating or to quit smoking then this plan will benefit you. If you are looking to end something like an addiction then you should see a physician.